Emily Dickenson’s Gardening Life by Martha McDowell (June zoom discussion)

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet.

It was Dickenson that encouraged this book on gardening.

Emily Dickenson was a gardener


A daisy in Emily Dickenson from her homestead

she even grew prize winning figs

Amherst college hill  (the pioneer valley)

history of the Dickenson’s garden

tells time by the bloom cycle

Johnny jump ups

pansy grow in cold weather, but fhithers away in hot weather

pansy-“to think”

grandfather declared bankruptcy

Emily was a good story teller

studied botonny and biology

they were in with the Hitchcock’s “same social club”

experience flowers in their own home

In spring finding the first bloom was grand

She had many botany books

Plants that look like human organs was a plus from early “healers”

she mixed flowers (wild and domestic) in her poems

she had a big god, her shaggy Ally (Carlo) “enormous” lived for 16 years

1890’s thought of Calvinism

hot bed is heated not like a cold frame (hot beds fueled by manure)

weeds sow themselves, weeds driving deep in the soil

Dickenson made May baskets

Lilac is an ancient plant and it attacts beeds

Emily has the family baker.

Emily also traveled often (visiting relatives)

Liked to grow asters

had calisthenics in college  1-mile walk

Reviewed Mt. Vernan (Washington’s tomb)

he also like peonies and irises

Tiny Greville roses (clustering buds)

this rose had  big family tree

some of these roses are very thorny

Ora White Hitchcock painted roses

love-for-a-day or cinnamon rose

wrote poem abot roses location 991

Edward Dickenson bought back the hhouse his father lost

Dickenson renovation happened 1853-1854

“home is where the garden is”

gardening became a past time

Emily fell back  to poems and gardens

The Dickenson family enjoyed cats

Are flowers are a matter of taste.

she liked the gif of lilies (from the Bible)

it was rare for Dickinson to have a poem published 1861

annuals are workhorses (keep garden flowering)

stock is a fragrant annual

clove is good for the soil

summer is the start of mushroom plants

Thomas Wentworth was Emily Dickinson’s mentor

she preferred plant vs. people

had three sisters and one brother who married in 1856   ?????????????????/

hung out with writers and designers

orra White Hitchcock painted many flowers

“naughty” food from a garden that’s stolen

Emily was a poet and a gardener

talked about the uniform needed for gardening (especial , mosquitos)  30%

Referring to late summer being like in Africa

in the 1860s Emily had eye problems…her eyes got healed!

Dad was Edward Dickinson

had Dickinson law offices

planted trees around Amherst    trees are good for the town

Amherst like their cattle show

collected sassafeas (root beer 35%)

Edward and Austin Dickenson had money to hire men for the gardens

vegetable rarely made it into a poem (E.D.)

talks about chestnuts (comparrison)

Orchards appear over and over again in Dickinson’s poem

Dickinson like to make cider.  Like bonbons too!

Dickinson removed herself from the wider world

E.D. was 43 when  her father died

gardens were her escape

bitter sweet thought of a next llife.

Born in 1830 (E.D.)

The Indian pipe (native to the Northwest) botanical bartor

Emily and Austin became lovers???

snow acts like a blanket in the garden

conifers supply the structure of the winter garden

Dickinson’s had properties on Main Street

Emily used a conservatory in the winter

A rose is heaety

garden was an inspiration for her poems

Emily Dickinson died in May 1886 by what was diagnosed as Bright’s disease (a kidney ailment)

after funeral the casket was brought through the garden

at her death hundreds upon hundreds of poems were found

Publication-is the auction/of the mind of men

start the soil, use manure

planting a seed brings life!

foxglove attacks bees to the garden

Emily likes color in the garden

butterflies are sun worships

E.D. was alert to inset life

talk of climate change in her life

black gold-manure (visiting a poets garden)

The Dickinson property was sold in 1916

The is an Emily Dickinson Museum (analyzing the paint was done by a grad. student

property was redone by a landscape architecture in 2009

talk of tree planting around the homestad

Austin helped build the local church

in 1950 most of E.D. works were sold then donated to Harvard

E.D. plants; 51%  spreadsheet of annual and perennials

cactus:   Cactaceae – Thanksgiving cactus. she liked California poppy, daff

odil,daisy, daylily, forget-me-not, Hyacinths, iterested in Pink flower (dianthus caryophyllus, stock (Matthiola incana)

spreadsheet of trees, shrubs, and woody vines 58%

common lilac, daphe. pomegranate

The Greville rose bush

Fruits and vegetables cultivated by the Dickinson’s

apple, beets.figs, red currant

Overall, I would give this book 3 smiley faces…and here’s why.  I’m a number guy and the included spreadsheets were very impressive and show excellent database work…for that I would give it a 5 (which shows E.D. love of the garden plants).  For enjoyment of reading I would have to give it a 1.  I’m not that smart and here wording in her poems goes right over my head.  I’m curious about her kidney issues, and her work during the Civil War.

Emily had a tiny cherry des

small lady

the homestead was later climate controlled

men were wearing top hats/women bonetts

lists – sources and citations

not on the botanical artists in this book

Author Marta McDowell lives and lectures about gardens

“I pay-in Satin Cash

you did not state-your price

A Petal, for a Paragraph

is near as I can guess”
















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